I was thinking a little more about Curt and the Russians as I was falling asleep last night. I have the feeling it's a chronological sequence. From the middle 90's to about 2001, people like the overlapping NaftraSib/Gazprom/Itera interests who were looking for influence in the US were heavily targetting the DeLay/Abramoff complex, with lots of dodgy connections to groups like the Heritage Foundation and the National Security Caucus Foundation around the edges.when starroute says 'A lot there to think about' - there's probably a lot to think about.
But something changed after 2001. I don't know if it was that having the Bush administration in place meant that for Abramoff exploiting the Indian tribes became easier and more profitable than dealing with the various shadowy overseas interests. I don't know if the post-911 climate meant a certain parting of the ways between the US-based military-industrial complex and their dodgier foreign friends. Or maybe there was something I'm not even thinking of. But there was definitely a change in targets -- and the heavy press on Weldon in 2002 seems to be a sign of it.
What's more interesting about the Weldon case, though, is that it makes clear the extent to which all these Congressional scandals -- which the MSM are busily trying to portray as merely domestic corruption -- have a strong overseas and arms-dealing component.
- There's DeLay, of course, and his dealing with the Russians and other overseas junkets.
- There's Weldon, who along with his ties to the Russians is the #2 Republican on the Armed Forces Committee.
- There's Cunningham, who was close enough to John Fisher to have delivered a tribute to him on the floor of Congress to commemorate Fisher's 50 years as head of the American Security Council (parent organization of the National Security Council Foundation.)
- There's Ney and his dealings in 2003 with Nigel Winfield of FN Aviation and Fouad al-Zayat, the shady Cypriot-based arms dealer. (Note that Cyprus also comes into the Weldon story -- one of many nests of shady dealers and money-launderers.)
And, let's not forget, those 2002 Abramoff-Safavian emails (pdf) that indicate that the tentative agenda for their Scottish golf junket included both "Meeting with Alexander and Kiril Koulakovsky" and "Meeting with Patrick Spiteri (to be confirmed)." Alexander Koulakovsky was the NaftaSib guy involved in the 1997 Abramoff Moscow junket. Patrick Spiteri's connections go to Maltese money-laundering (link) and the 1999 Bank of New York money-laundering scandal which involved the Russian Mafia.
A lot there to think about.
as i said - i'm kinda hitting and running at the mo - but i can add one thing to the NaftraSib/Gazprom/Itera party - and that's the yukos connection, and yukos' roster of lobbyists - which includes our regular stable of criminals - and probably a bunch of legitimate folks as well. i'm not sure which side of the ledger charlie black and bksh are on - but i suspect that it's on the side of evil.